Hydrogen peroxide and calcium chloride added to irrigation water as a strategy to reduce bacterial populations and improve quality of fresh mushrooms

Naveen Chikthimmah, Luke F. Laborde, Robert B. Beelman

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The quality and value of fresh mushrooms are often diminished by the presence of high bacterial populations that cause a brown, blotchy appearance. The objective of the present research was to evaluate the addition of hydrogen peroxide and/or calcium chloride to irrigation water as a means to reduce total bacterial populations on fresh mushrooms. Crops were grown using commercial mushroom growing practices except for the addition of 0.75% hydrogen peroxide and/or 0.3% calcium chloride irrigation water added to the crop starting 11d after the casing layer was applied on top of mushroom compost. Irrigation water without the added treatments acted as the control. Mushrooms were aseptically sampled from the production beds for enumerating bacterial counts. Total aerobic bacterial populations were determined by standard microbiological plating procedures. Mushroom whiteness (L-value) and color (delta E) after harvest and postharvest storage were measured using a Minolta chromameter. Harvested mushrooms were separated by treatment and weighed to record yield. Mushrooms irrigated with water (control) had 7.3 log colony-forming units (CFU) of aerobic bacterial populations per gram of fresh mushroom tissue. Compared with the control, irrigation with 0.75% hydrogen peroxide and 0.3% calcium chloride reduced the bacterial populations on fresh mushrooms by 87% (6.4 log CFU/g). Irrigation with hydrogen peroxide and calcium chloride significantly enhanced mushroom whiteness after harvest as well as after 6 d of postharvest storage at 12°C. The irrigation treatments did not have a significant effect on crop yields; hence, the addition of hydrogen peroxide and calcium chloride to irrigation water was demonstrated to have good potential as a practical strategy to reduce bacterial populations and to improve the quality of fresh mushrooms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)m273-m278
JournalJournal of Food Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science

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